As with many organisations, the powerful recent protests led by the Black Lives Matter movement across the world have led us to reflect on the inequalities evident across society. These have been compounded in the last few months by the COVID-19 pandemic, which is having a disproportionate effect on the Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic community in general, and the Black population in particular.
These inequalities are also evident in activity participation levels, demonstrated in a 2020 Sport England research report which shows that just over 50% of black people in England meet the recommended levels of physical activity every week.
Sport and physical activity is an intrinsic part of many local communities. It contributes to the quality of life of many people and fosters community cohesion. It also has the potential to help to bring people together, to develop teamwork and co-operative skills, and to provide a wide range of opportunities for all sections of the community to participate.
As a lead partnership agency and provider of services for sport and physical activity, Kent Sport is committed to promoting equality, valuing diversity and combating unfair treatment in sport and physical activity.
We are proud of the work that we have done, such as becoming the first Active Partnership in the country to achieve the Intermediate Level of the Equality Standard A Framework for Sport, but acknowledge that this is not enough. We must educate ourselves and others, hold difficult conversations and confront inequality from grassroots to the boardroom level.
We have signed up to the Sport & Recreation Alliance’s Black Lives Matter statement and through delivery of our Equality Action Plan we will focus on working together to address inequalities in sport and physical activity.
There are no easy answers. We must take time to reflect, listen, question, learn and openly discuss how to take positive action to ensure that we are better at reaching, representing and hearing the needs of people from Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic communities. This is just the start of our journey.